Abandoned Shopping Cart Email Best Practices

In the world of online selling, getting shoppers to visit an e-commerce store is a challenge on its own. Once online shoppers reach the e-commerce store, retailers can motivate them to place items in their shopping cart using chatbot marketing, product recommendation tools, journey orchestration, etc. The last thing retailers want, after putting in all that effort, is for online shoppers to leave without buying anything. Yet cart abandonment results in a whopping $18 billion in lost sales every year. Abandoned shopping cart email best practices equip e-commerce brands to recover more abandoned carts.

The best way to prevent cart abandonment is to address the reasons why customers abandoned their carts. The most common ones are hidden fees, lack of payment options, long shipping windows, among others. However, with the average cart abandonment rate at 70%, even the most optimized e-commerce sites still have tons of abandoned carts. A share of those customers could be motivated to return and finish their purchase with an effective follow-up email.

In this post, we explore how cart abandonment emails work, best practices for crafting and sending them, and how personalized content helps online retailers recover more abandoned carts.

Understanding abandoned shopping cart email best practices 

Abandoned cart emails serve as a lifeline for online retailers, providing a second chance to re-engage potential customers who showed interest but didn’t seal the deal. This powerful tool leverages the insights from the e-commerce buyer’s journey to nurture customer relationships and motivate buyers to complete their purchase. An impressive 41% of recipients open cart abandonment emails—a much higher open rate than the 21% average open rate for standard marketing emails.

10 key elements of successful abandoned cart email campaigns 

Abandoned shopping cart email best practices involve both art and science. On one hand, cart abandonment emails require a keen understanding of the target audience and the unique selling propositions of your products. On the other hand, they demand a strategic use of data, personalization, and persuasive language to entice customers to complete their purchases. The following elements combine to deliver that balance:

1. Timeliness

Send abandoned cart emails promptly. Striking while the iron is hot increases the chances of re-engaging the customer after they’ve abandoned their cart. Also, follow up with a cart abandonment email series. Omnisend suggests sending the first email 1 hour after cart abandonment, the second email 12 hours later, and the third email 24 hours after. 

2. Compelling subject lines and copy 

Craft subject lines and body copy that inspire customers to take action. Marketers and e-commerce leaders can’t rely on intuition alone when it comes to creating and identifying copy that drives conversions. Persado Essential Motivation, a self-serve enterprise Generative AI solution for text generation, offers the most accurate performance predictions in the industry based on models that are continuously learning and the Motivation AI knowledge base trained on over a decade of performance insights from Fortune 500 digital marketing campaigns. Learn more about Generative AI for email marketing

3. Clear call to action (CTA)

Make it easy for customers to return to their carts by including a prominent and clear CTA. Use persuasive language like “Complete Your Purchase” or “Secure Your Items Now.” Keep it simple and straightforward. Online shoppers should know within seconds where to click to complete their purchase. Here are some examples

4. Product imagery and descriptions 

Pictures speak louder than words. Rather than tell customers what products they are missing out on, show them instead. Include enticing, high-quality images, product descriptions, and any relevant product details that encourage them to revisit their choices. Make product images as large and prominent as possible

5. Personalization

Personalize cart abandonment emails based on customers’ behavior and purchase history. Tailoring the message to their preferences enhances the likelihood of conversion. Persado Dynamic Motivation uses Generative AI to serve personalized messaging across email and the website. Retailers should also use marketing segmentation to personalize cart abandonment email campaigns. Brands can collect and analyze data to segment customers, enabling the personalization of abandoned cart emails for maximum relevance. Segments can be created using purchase history and customer behavior. Behavioral segmentation allows brands to cater the right messaging to the right customer. 

6. Incentives and offers (use sparingly) 

A limited-time offer or exclusive discount can create a sense of urgency, prompting customers to act quickly. However, online shoppers can also grow to expect discounts when they abandon their carts and could start abandoning their carts on purpose in order to get a better deal. This leads to retailers taking lower margins. While incentives and offers can be used to encourage and reward your most loyal customers, retailers should think twice before including them in every cart abandonment email. If there was a limited time offer or sale going on already, retailers should highlight this in their cart abandonment emails for the duration of the special offer (i.e. “Free shipping this weekend only”). 

7. Include social proof 

5-star reviews sell products. Prominently display your best reviews and social proof such as expert testimonials, celebrity endorsements, third party certifications, and more. Spotlight just how many customers trust the brand (i.e. “over 500,000 sold” or “40,000 5-star reviews”). 

8. Highlight key selling points 

E-commerce leaders can use social proof to highlight key product selling points. If there is something unique about your products (ex: “sustainably made”), you can feature it in abandoned cart emails. You also may want to call out payment plans or different payment options. 

9. Customer support availability 

Customers may have abandoned their carts because they have additional questions about the products, shipping times, the return policy, etc. Get ahead of that by reminding customers of how they can reach out to customer support through live chat, email, and/or phone. 

10. Follow up on multiple channels 

Cart abandonment emails don’t exist in a silo. E-commerce retailers should also employ other abandoned cart recovery strategies. In addition to sending multiple cart abandonment emails, e-commerce leaders should also follow up on multiple channels such as SMS and/or through an exit intent popup on the website.  

Best practices for crafting abandoned cart emails

Incorporating abandoned cart emails into your marketing strategy is a significant leap toward recovering potentially lost revenue. Consider these additional abandoned shopping cart email best practices:

Optimize for mobile

Ensure abandoned cart emails are optimized for mobile devices. With an increasing number of users shopping on smartphones, a mobile-friendly design is necessary.

Test and iterate

A/B testing and multivariate testing are valuable tools. Test different elements of your cart abandonment emails, such as subject lines, CTAs, and/or incentives, and use the insights gained to refine your approach.


Leverage marketing automation platforms such as Klaviyo to send abandoned cart emails promptly. Set up a series of follow-up emails at strategic intervals to maximize the chances of re-engaging customers.

Create a sense of urgency

Incorporate elements that create a sense of urgency, such as low stock alerts. Urgency can prompt customers to act swiftly.

Track and analyze performance

Regularly monitor key performance indicators, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Analyze the performance of your abandoned cart emails and iterate based on the insights gained.


It’s a huge win when cart abandonment emails result in conversions. It’s an even bigger win when e-commerce retailers need to send fewer cart abandonment emails because customers don’t abandon their carts in the first place. In order to avoid the often devastating effects of cart abandonment, retailers should focus on correcting the issues that result in cart abandonment such as a long and confusing checkout process, unsatisfactory return policies, not offering guest checkout, or ways to save items in a wish list. 

Personalization across the online shopping journey builds trust and engagement, which also reduces cart abandonment. Persado Dynamic Motivation enables retailers to extend the personalized digital experiences customers have grown to expect into the often neglected online cart. By applying Dynamic Motivation to the online cart, retailers turn browsers into buyers by serving messaging that speaks to each customer as if the brand knows them personally. Brands that use Dynamic Motivation in the online cart prevent cart abandonment and increase e-commerce revenue up to 5%. 

The future of abandoned cart emails

As the digital world continues to witness the transformative power of Generative AI, experts forecast a pivotal role for this technology across retail and various other industries. One particularly promising avenue for this transformation lies in the enhancement of abandoned cart emails.

By harnessing the capabilities of GenAI, brands can revolutionize the content creation process to improve the abandoned cart recovery rate. In this way, they can deliver messages that are not only timely, but also tailored to specific audiences. This strategic use of technology holds the potential to significantly boost engagement and conversion rates, turning lost opportunities into completed transactions.

To experience firsthand the impact of Persado Motivation AI on cart abandonment and conversions, request a risk-free trial. Unlock the power of the highest-performing language across digital channels, including email, SMS, social media, website, push notifications, and more. Join the ranks of industry leaders who have recognized Persado as the market leader in Generative AI Text Content Generation, as acclaimed by CB Insights.

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